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mathematics) and David Weisstub (first at Osgoode Hall Law School, later
at the Université de Montréal). He also had close friends in the legal community,
notably the Honourable Kenneth Lysyk and Peter Butler, Q.C.
The list of J.C.’s books alone is a testament to his far-ranging interests and
his commitment to scholarly collaboration: Legal Obligation (1976); The
Western Idea of Law (1983), co-edited with David Weisstub; Liability in Negligence
(1984); Law and Its Presuppositions: Actions, Agents and Rules (1986),
co-authored with S.C. Coval; The Neurotic Foundations of Social Order: Psychoanalytic
Roots of Patriarchy (1990); and The Castration of Oedipus: Feminism,
Psychoanalysis and the Will to Power (1996), co-authored with Carla
Ferstman. This list also tells a story about his evolution as a scholar. While
J.C.’s early work focused on tort law and legal theory, he maintained a
strong interest in the various strands of social theory to which he had been
introduced at Yale, and he read broadly and deeply across a range of disciplines.
An interest in mythology led him in turn to read the entire corpus
of Freud and Jung. He came to see Western law as an integral part of a patriarchal
social order that had displaced older matriarchal systems. This conviction,
together with conversations with female law students who were
questioning the existing curriculum and asking for courses to be taught on
women and the law, seem to have been crucial factors in his decision to
identify as a radical feminist, and he went on to write ground-breaking
scholarship on feminist legal studies and psychoanalytic jurisprudence.
J.C. also did cutting-edge work on law and artificial intelligence and was the
director of the Faculty of Law Artificial Intelligence Research (FLAIR) Project
from 1989 to 2002. He was awarded the Killam Research Prize in 1987,
and in 2007 the Allard Law Alumni Association recognized his lifetime of
scholarly contributions with the Alumni Award for Research.
J.C. was also an inspired and inspiring teacher. He taught courses in a
range of fields, including tort law, property law, jurisprudence and evidence.
One course that stood out from the more traditional law school offerings was
The Western Idea of Law, which he taught using the edited book he had
developed with David Weisstub. His lectures were virtuoso performances:
beautifully constructed, dazzling with intellectual insight, and often dramatic.
I was one of many students who found the course transformative. He
won the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence in 1995.
To his considerable annoyance, J.C. retired in 1995 because mandatory
retirement was still in effect at UBC at the time. Some of us wondered
whether this would be difficult for him, since work had been so central to
his life. In fact, while J.C. remained an active and prolific scholar and continued
to teach courses at the law school for several years, he ended up